Former Manchester United and Stoke defender denies retirement rumours

Danny Higginbotham has denied his retirement from football despite leaving Chester FC at the weekend.

Daniel John Higginbotham came through the illustrious youth system at Manchester United - and in 1997 he made his debut for the club, going on to play seven games in total for the club in three years.

He was soon signed by Derby County for £2 million in the year 2000 and went on to play most memorably at Stoke City and Southampton - while he also had stints with Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Sheffield United before joining Chester in the summer.

It marked the start of a quite exciting six months for the player. He became a part of an ambitious project at Chester to take them back to their previous glories - and with an international perspective and even more ambitious project.

He made his debut for Gibraltar in their first official international performance - a 0-0 draw with Slovakia in November in which he was named man of the match.

So it certainly came as a surprise when it was reported he had retired this weekend. He cancelled his contract at Chester six months early after coming to an amicable and mutual agreement with the club board:

“Since coming to Chester I've really enjoyed my time at the club. I've got nothing but good things to say about the fans and how they've stuck behind the team. The management have been a pleasure to work with and the team spirit amongst the lads is something that should go a long way to keeping the club up this season.”

The original reports suggested he was giving up the game at 35-years-old in order to concentrate on his media career - but that is not the case.

He will be continuing to play, but at a lower level - so he can give more focus to his media commitments.

He confirmed this on Twitter earlier today... and I for one am pleased to hear the news. At 35-years-old many believe their career in football is over, Higginbotham has proved this year that does not need to be the case. Now with a career in the media looking ever-promising he has made the decision to continue playing his beloved game at a lower level.

This keen observer will be following his progress intently.

images: © Ronnie Macdonald, © David Gilson

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